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Dornoch, High Street, Dornoch Cathedral of St Mary and St Gilbert

A Category A Listed Building in Dornoch, Highland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.8804 / 57°52'49"N

Longitude: -4.0299 / 4°1'47"W

OS Eastings: 279720

OS Northings: 889692

OS Grid: NH797896

Mapcode National: GBR J7FW.SWS

Mapcode Global: WH4DN.2683

Entry Name: Dornoch, High Street, Dornoch Cathedral of St Mary and St Gilbert

Location: Dornoch

County: Highland

Town: Dornoch

Locality: East Sutherland and Edderton

Traditional County: Sutherland

Listing Date: 18 March 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Building Class: Cultural

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB24632

Source ID: 360651

Description

13th century, cruciform with central tower and spire,

subsequently much rebuilt; complete restoration by William

Burn, 1835-37. All rubble with ashlar dressings.

Exterior; 4-bay nave (1835-37 on medieval plan incorporating

early west gable and window); 3-bay choir and 2-bay

transepts, all with lancet windows tripled in east and

transept gables and linked by continuous string course; angle buttresses. West door recessed under pointed arch with nook

shafts. Large intersecting medieval Y-tracery window above.

Small porch, similarly detailed as at west, in south transept

gable. Central tower supported on 13th century shafted piers

with early 17th century corbelled parapet and embryo angle

turrets; early 18th century broached, slated spire (restored

1835-37); evidence remains inside tower of corbelled

vaulting, probably to support roof that pre-dated spire. The

clustered columns of the crossing piers, of irregular height

with embryo waterleaf capitals are an important example of

transitional architecture in Scotland, The remains of

decorative arcading between the transept and choir windows

indicate an elaborate original treatment.

Interior: pilaster rib-vaulted choir and nave (1835-37)

rubble walls revealing some incorporated medieval masonry

lath and plaster of the Burn period removed in 1929). Choir

lancets linked by continuous hoodmoulds E window 3 lancets

with additional lancet in gable (inserted after original

building, but not replaced by Burn, W window follows design

of original but raised to allow for W door. Transepts raised,

bases of crossing piers still visible choir raised further

(Sutherland burial vault below) and approached by 4 steps;

recumbant effigy of Richard de Moravia and various mural

monuments including classical monument to 18th Earl and his

wife on s side of choir unusually fine collection of 19th and

20th century stained glass, including windows in memory of

Andrew Carnegie of Skibo (1835-1919) by Percy Bacon, and to

Rosemary Millicent, Viscountess Edam, daughter of 4th Duke of

Sutherland and her son by Morris and Co (1930) and to 4th

Duke in E windows by Christopher Whall.

Richly carved wooden Gothic octagonal pulpit, communion

table and choir seating date from 1911.

Graveyard; ground enclosed by simple coped rubble wall.

Statement of Interest

Ecclesiastical building in use as such. Founded by St Gilbert

Murray (de Moravia) in 1224. Damaged by fire in 1570.

Chancel, transept and tower restored in 1616 by Sir Robert

Gordon of Gordonstoun, Tutor of Sutherland (during minority

of his nephew, the Earl). Spire commenced 1728, still

unfinished 1732. Rebuilding of nave and complete restoration,

1835-37, financed by Countess Elizabeth Dowager Duchess of

Sutherland. Further restoration, 1924, when 1835-37 interior

mural plastering stripped.

Large statue of first Duke of Sutherland by Sir Francis

L. Chantry, which stood at west end of church, removed to

Dunrobin in 1980.

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